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What Can You Do with a Sports Management Degree?

Jan. 24, 2020

Sports manager handles basketball while sitting at his desk.

What Can You Do with a Sports Management Degree?

The sports industry is thriving, with a global market value of $488.5 billion as of 2018. The report "Sports Global Market Opportunities and Strategies to 2022" forecasts this number to grow to $614.1 billion by 2022. Contributing factors include more sports sponsorships, the popularity of esports, and the multitude of sports channels bringing more viewers on board.

This industry success offers fertile ground for those wondering what they can do with a sports management degree. Sports management responsibilities can range from brand building to event planning, so professionals in this field need the proper education and skills. The LSU Online Master of Science in Kinesiology with a specialization in Sport Management equips aspiring sports managers with the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in the business.

Careers in Sports Management

Working in the sports industry does not necessarily require exceptional athletic talent. Management provides an excellent way for sports enthusiasts with business mindsets to enter the field. Sports management spans every aspect of business in athletics and recreation. Industry professionals can work in marketing, facilities management, sales, law, accounting, and business development. In addition, they might work for professional sports teams, universities, sports leagues, equipment manufacturers, or marketing agencies. Graduates with an MS in Kinesiology with a concentration in Sport Management may choose to pursue one of the following careers.

Account Manager

Account managers maintain and build the relationships their teams have with corporate sponsors. This involves working toward the fulfillment of all contractual elements.

  • Job Description: Professional teams and universities partner with corporate sponsors. These partnerships provide important revenue for the sports teams and valuable exposure and increased brand awareness for the sponsors. Account managers handle partnerships with sponsors by implementing promotional campaigns, advertising, retail strategies, and event programming. Account managers in sports may use game tickets, specials events, player appearances, and stadium signage to personalize and incentivize sponsor partnerships.
  • Skills: A firm grasp of marketing techniques and understanding of social media and technology are important skills for account managers to possess. This savvy allows them to effectively use all channels to communicate with their audiences and strategically approach their campaigns.
  • Salary and Job Outlook: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), account managers earned a median annual income of $117,130 in 2018. Salaries for account managers range between $57,150 and $208,000 a year. In addition, the BLS projects 10% job growth for account managers between 2016 and 2026.

Sports Agent

What can you do with a sports management degree besides manage the interests of professional teams and sports leagues? Sports agents can promote the interests of athletes.

  • Job Description: The high financial stakes of the professional sports world demand that professional athletes seek out representatives with business expertise who can help them manage the aspects of their careers not concerned with athletic performance. Sports agents help athletes negotiate contracts, deal with legal issues, and manage their money. Since many professional athletes are public figures, sports agents also help them manage their images. Sports agents work both independently and for agencies.
  • Skills: Sports agents need a strong foundation in business and finance. They sometimes possess both a law degree and a sports management degree. Communication and public relations skills also significantly contribute to the success of a sports agent.
  • Salary and Job Outlook: Sports agents’ salaries depend on the earnings of the athletes they represent. The BLS reports that the median salary for sports agents in 2017 was $90,870, with salaries ranging between $31,020 and $200,310 a year. The bureau also forecasts a 3% increase in the employment of these professionals between 2016 and 2026.

Athletic Director

Athletic directors oversee all of the sports in a school or a university, and they are responsible for building their departments.

  • Job Description: Athletic directors typically set policies for school sports and ensure student-athletes comply with the rules of governing organizations such as the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). They hire coaches and personnel, outlining the duties and responsibilities of each position. Athletic directors also manage departmental budgets, allocate funds for each sport, and collaborate with coaches, as well as approve all materials that promote and build the image of the athletic department.
  • Skills: Athletic directors require knowledge and skills in human resources. They must also be expert organizers, with strong leadership skills and the ability to budget. They typically possess excellent people management and communication skills.
  • Salary and Job Outlook: Athletic directors may manage very large departments. Often the size of the department they supervise impacts their salaries. The BLS reports that the median 2018 annual salary for athletic directors was $94,340, with a range of salaries between $54,680 and $190,600. It projects the job market for athletic directors to grow 10% between 2016 and 2026.

Sports Facilities Manager

The success of any sports complex or community recreation center depends on the leadership of facilities managers. Sports facilities managers ensure that the systems and equipment of the facilities they oversee operate smoothly.

  • Job Description: The responsibilities of facilities managers span program development, human resources, and marketing. Depending on the clientele of the facility, sport facilities managers design cost-effective programming that engages the target audience. They also recruit and train staff to help them achieve the goals of the facility. Facilities managers must drive revenues for their establishments. This requires effective marketing that reaches the community and promotes the establishment, and it can also entail attracting sponsors.
  • Skills: To maintain their facilities, these professionals need skills in operations and asset management. As leaders, they must possess excellent communication skills and human management skills.
  • Salary and Job Outlook: According to the BLS, sports facilities managers earned a median annual salary of $96,180 in May 2018. Salaries ranged between $55,000 and $165,470 a year. The agency projects 10% job growth for facilities managers between 2016 and 2026.

Prepare for Success in Sports Management

What you can do with a sports management degree depends on your interests and skills. The careers described above only begin to explore the myriad of opportunities available to those with expertise in the field. The Louisiana State University Online Master of Science in Kinesiology with a specialization in Sport Management can sharpen the leadership and business skills needed to launch a successful career in the sports industry.

Learn more about the LSU Online Master of Science in Kinesiology with a specialization in Sport Management and discover what it takes to thrive as a leader in the world of sports.

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